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Last Updated Wednesday, Jul 20, 2005 5:27 pm, EDT

Golden Corral 500

Status: Final Atlanta Motor Speedway

Race Capsule

Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • What:

    Race 4 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, GA

  • When:

    March 20, 2005 1:15 pm EST

  • Laps:

    325

  • Track Length:

    1.54 miles

  • Race Length:

    501.00 miles

  • Purse:

    $4,761,128

Drivers to Watch

Ryan Newman The winner of the most poles on the circuit each of the last three years has won the pole for each of the last four events here: "I love Atlanta. It is the fastest track on the circuit, which makes qualifying fun. Of course, with the way the Alltel team qualifies here, how can it not be fun?"; posted his 28th career pole - and first in Las Vegas - before running ninth in the UAW DaimlerChrysler 400 on Sunday; led seven times for 44 laps but became entangled with Gordon with 34 laps to go; climbed four spots to eighth in the standings with 389 points, six behind Penske Racing South teammate Rusty Wallace for seventh; has led 151 laps in six starts here, with his best finish being a fifth in October.
Jimmie Johnson Led 107 laps in the UAW DaimlerChrysler 400 on Sunday for 15th career victory and fifth in last nine events dating to last year; took the checkered flag 1.661 seconds ahead of Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Busch; briefly held the standings lead until NASCAR docked him 25 points for the roof of his Chevrolet being too low in Las Vegas; fell 10 points behind Kurt Busch in the standings; will be without crew chief Chad Knaus, who was suspended and fined $35,000 for the infraction, for the next two races; has finished among the top six in each of last six events dating to last season; led circuit with eight victories last year, including an emotional victory in Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 one week after a plane crash in Martinsville, Virginia claimed the lives of several members of team owner Rick Hendrick's immediate family; will be driving the same car with which he took the checkered flag here in October.
Tony Stewart Ran 10th in Sunday's UAW DaimlerChrysler 400, climbing one spot to sixth in the standings; won this event during his championship season of 2002 and was fourth that October; has run in the top 10 seven straight times on this track after finishing outside the top 10 in each of his first five tries; was seventh in this event last year before running ninth here in October; looking to extend streak here: "I'm extremely comfortable in my car there, and every time we go back, it seems like we just make the Home Depot Chevrolet a little bit better."
Matt Kenseth The 2003 series champion overcame a tire problem that left him two laps down to finish eighth in the UAW DaimlerChrysler 400 on Sunday; was his first top-10 of 2005 after posting 60 over the previous three seasons; had finished outside of the top 10 in 11 straight events since running second to Kurt Busch in the opener of the "Chase"; had his string of 71 consecutive races among the top 10 in the point standings snapped following a 42nd in the Daytona 500; has climbed to 28th over the last two events.
Jeff Gordon Four-time series champion is a four-time winner in 25 career starts here, including two checkered flags in this event; his first premier series start came here in 1992 season finale, coinciding with Richard Petty's final race; clinched three of his series championships here (1995, 1997, 2001); the defending Daytona 500 champion climbed six spots to fourth in the standings after running fourth in Las Vegas on Sunday; was his second top-five of the season as he rebounded from a 28th amid engine problem in California on February 27; has yet to start in the top 10 this season and that trend may continue this weekend: "This is probably one of the toughest situations we face all year. We'll qualify at night when the track is quick and then race during the day where the pace will drop off considerably. NASCAR allows us to make certain adjustments to the car after our qualifying attempt and before the race, but the adjustments are not nearly enough to be fast in qualifying and fast at the drop of the green flag on Sunday. ... We want to qualify well, but our main objective on Friday is to be quick on race setup."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Was knocked out after just 12 laps of Sunday's UAW DaimlerChrysler 400 after crashing with Brian Vickers; assumed responsibility for the accident, which saddled him with a 42nd-place finish; fell 13 spots to 27th in the standings - the lowest ranking of his career at this point of the season; after running third in the season-opening Daytona 500, battled tire problems en route to a 32nd in California; won this event last season, but an accident led to a 33rd here in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 seven months later; his father won this race five times, beginning with his second career victory on March 16, 1980.
Kevin Harvick Ran fifth in Las Vegas on Sunday, initially climbing five spots to eighth in the standings; two days later, NASCAR docked him 25 points for an unapproved fuel filter and fuel cell vent on his Chevrolet, knocking him back to 10th with 369 points; will be without crew chief Todd Berrier for the next four races for the infractions, but team owner Richard Childress has appealed the penalties; won this race in just his third premier series start after taking over the seat left vacant by Dale Earnhardt's death at Daytona in 2001, holding off Jeff Gordon to win by .006 seconds; finished third here in October 2001 but has not run better than 19th in six starts on this track since; finished outside the top 30 in both events here last year.
Kyle Busch The 19-year-old brother of Kurt posted his best career finish on this circuit in the UAW DaimlerChrysler 400 on Sunday, a second to teammate Johnson in his native Las Vegas; the result was tarnished two days later when NASCAR docked him 25 points and suspended crew chief Alan Gustafson two races after the quarter-panel heights on his Chevrolet were found to be too high; even with the deduction, improved 10 spots in the standings to 22nd through three events of his rookie season; had finished no higher than 23rd in his first eight career races, including a 43rd here in the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 in October; runner-up to Martin Truex Jr. as a rookie on the Busch Series circuit last year.